Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) continues a 40 year tradition of concluding the Summer Research Internship Program (SRIP) with a Symposium on Thursday, August 10, from 8:30am until 12:00pm in the Froehlke Auditorium at the Marshfield Clinic Marshfield Center. A luncheon follows the presentations.

Directed by Huong McLean, PhD, the summer internship provides a 12-week research experience tailored to each student’s skill level and is related to ongoing research at the Marshfield Clinic. The program enables students to put their education into practice as they work side-by-side with scientists who are experts in their fields.

SRIP is supported entirely through philanthropy. Thanks to the generosity of many community partners, Clinic employees, foundations, businesses and a major sponsorship by The Boldt Company, the program has the financial resources to host nine students this year.

Clinic staff and physicians are invited to attend as many of the presentations as schedules allow. The Symposium can also be viewed internally via MediaSite Live:

Below are the presentations and a brief description of the individual student projects.

Understanding Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: Attitudes Toward Child Safety and Safe-Play Areas
Rachael Rol
Mentored by Casper Bendixsen, PhD & Kathrine Barnes, MPH in the National Farm Medicine Center, Rachael conducted interviews with young farm couples in the central Wisconsin area to identify their attitudes towards child safety and safe-play areas. Originally from the Marshfield area, Rachael will be a senior at UW-Madison this Fall, pursuing a double major in Neurobiology and Spanish and plans to attend medical school upon graduation.

Sero-surveillance of Powassan Virus and Characterization of Patients with Dual Sero-positivity for Lyme and Acute Epstein-Barr Virus Infection
Trever Koester
Under the mentorship of pediatric clinician Holly Frost, MD and Director of the Integrated Research and Development Laboratory, Jennifer Meece, PhD, Trever performed sero-surveillance uncover and characterize cases of POWV by creating a biobank created consisting of patients who underwent tick-borne disease testing in the summer of 2017.Trever is a junior at University of Wisconsin-Stout majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology and is planning to enter a PhD/MD program upon graduation.

The Clinical Relevance of Genotypic Data in Blastomycosis Infections
Klaire Laux
With guidance from Jennifer Meece, PhD, Director of the Integrated Research and Development Laboratory, Klaire explored the differences in demographics, clinical features, and post-diagnostic monitoring of patients infected with Blastomyces dermatitidis and Blastomyces gilchristii. Klaire is pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, having received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology.

Gut and Blood Microbiome Alterations After Maximal Exercise in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Calin Dumitrescu
Mentored by Center for Human Genetics scientist, Sanjay Shukla, PhD, Calin analyzed the gut and blood microbiota of samples from 13 clinically characterized ME/CFS patients and 12 matched healthy controls pre- and post-exercise. Calin is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree majoring in biology with a neurobiology option at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will be a junior this fall. He plans to attend medical school after graduation. 

Determinants of Weight Loss Success in Clinical Intensive Behavioral Therapy for Obese Adults
Vishakha Mavani
Mentored by Jeffrey VanWormer, PhD, a scientist in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Population Health, Vishakha used a retrospective cohort of 301 obese adults who received Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) to assess monthly body weight and percentage of weight loss at 12-months after IBT initiation. Sociodemographic, clinical and IBT program factors were tested as exposures in the study’s models to determine predictors of weight loss. Vishakha is pursuing a Master’s of Public Health degree at the University of Minnesota. 

MCIndoor: A Computer Vision Framework to Assist Indoor Navigation of Blind or Visually-Impaired People
Fereshteh Bashiri
Under the mentorship of Biomedical Informatics Research Center (BIRC) scientist Ahmad P. Tafti and BIRC Director Peggy Peissig, Fereshteh collected 2076 images to detect remarkable indoor landmarks (e.g., doors, stairs and hospital signs) and developed a big data deep learning algorithm that will recognize a variety of objects within the environment and ultimately help visually-impaired people navigate their way in the Marshfield Clinic independently. Fereshteh is currently a Doctor of Philosophy candidate at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Determining the Genetic Requirements of Glycosuria Using Phenome-Wide Association Studies
Rachel Fehrman
With guidance from Center for Human Genetics scientist Scott Hebbring, PhD and postdoctoral fellow Jamie Fox, PhD, Rachel sequenced DNA obtained from 14 individuals diagnosed with glycosuria and then compared the samples to the NCBI database to identify novel mutations that may be driving the phenotype. Rachel is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology with a Pre-Biomedical emphasis at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Rachel plans to enter a PhD/MD program upon graduation.

Feasibility Assessment of TeleDental Approach to Address Non-traumatic Dental Conditions (NTDC) Visits to the Emergency Departments (EDs)
Katelyn Kleutsch
Under the mentorship of Center for Oral and Systemic Health scientists Neel Shimpi, PhD and Adham Abdelrahim, BDS, M.Sc Katelyn recruited patients in Urgent Care who presented with non-traumatic dental conditions to assess the diagnosis, waiting time, and cost associated with the tele-dental program in comparison to the Emergency Departments standard of care. This fall, Katelyn will be a senior at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as she pursues a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology. Upon graduation, Katelyn plans to attend dental school with a focus on pediatric dentistry.

Awareness of Patients Towards Association of Diabetes and Periodontal Disease
Callahan Katrak
Mentored by Neel Shimpi, PhD, a scientist in the Center for Oral and Systemic Health, Callahan surveyed patients and visitors in the Marshfield Clinic Marshfield Center waiting area about their knowledge on the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. Callahan is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a double major in Biology and Chemistry at Rollins College. After graduation, Callahan plans to enter a dual degree DMD/PhD or DDS/PhD program so that she may continue dental research in the future.